He Had Something For ‘Em!!

2009 Daytona 500 119 

(photo by Leon Hammack)


Jimmie Johnson put on driving clinic today for the other 42 drivers to behold.  The #48 Hendrick Motorsports Lowe’s Chevy was the dominant race car, without a doubt.  Johnson lead 298 of the 400 laps in The Autism Speaks 400 at Dover International Speedway.

With 38 laps to go in the race, the #48 Lowe’s Chevy came off of pit road with a sub par pit stop and exited the pits in 9th place.  It was looking like the fastest and most dominant car of the race had just beaten itself, and broken ol DW’s ( Darrell Waltrip) first rule of racing.  Up to this point in the race it was Jimmie Johnson’s race to loose, and quite frankly it had looked like the #48 team had done just that!

When the green flag flew, Johnson started picking off the cars one by one until there was only the #14 Office Depot Chevy of Tony (THE SMOKER) Stewart and the #16 3M Ford of Greg Biffle left in front of him.  Johnson got by The Bif with ten laps to go, leaving only THE SMOKER’S #14 Office Depot Chevy in the way of gaining his second victory of the 2009 season.  With two laps remaining, Johnson made the power move to the outside by driving it deep into the turn and motoring around Stewart to the victory!

Getty Images
(getty images)

With this victory Johnson is establishing himself in a very good position to become the one and only person in NASCAR to win four Cup championships in a row.  It appears that the #48 Lowe’s teams has finally started to hit their stride, that can only spell TROUBLE for the other 42 competitors!

The combination of Tony Stewart’s 2nd place finish and Jeff Gordon’s 26th place finish, gives us a new points leader.  It is the #14 Office Depot Stewart-Haas Chevy of “THE SMOKER”!  It is the first time that an owner-driver has held the points lead since Alan Kulwicki in 1992.


With 13 races completed, the Cup Series is half way to the point where the Chase begins.  The top 12 are starting to shape up for the Chase.

Here are some questions that need answers:

1. Does the #88 AMP/ National Guard Chevy make it into the Chase?

2. Will the #48 Lowe’s Chevy make it four championships in a row?

3. Will the #24 Dupont Chevy make their “Drive For Five” a success?

4. Will the #14 Office Depot win the championship for Stewart-Haas Racing?

5. Can “the old man”, Mark Martin, win his first championship?

What are your thoughts?  As always, I encourage you to leave a comment and express your views for all to see!

All Stars Shine Brightly

2009 Daytona 500 085

(Photo by Leon Hammack)


It was only a matter of time before THE SMOKER  took his new team to victory lane!  To all the nay sayers, the Stewart-Haas Racing #14 Office Depot/Old Spice Chevy is a true serious threat for the championship for 2009.  In just 12 races the #14 Office Depot/Old Spice Chevy has, no doubt, exceeded the team’s expectations for 2009.  Darien Grubb, THE SMOKER’S  crew chief,  was quoted on NASCAR Now this afternoon, that even though he admitted that the team’s performance for 2009 has been exceeded, the goals for the remainder of this season has and will continuously be adjusted.

The #14 team has climbed up to second position in the Cup standings for 2009.  Not only has the #14 Office Depot/Old Spice Chevy performed outstandingly, but the #39 Army Chevy has quitely maximized their performance and slipped into 8th place in the standings!  With one-third of the season under our belts, both of the Stewart-Haas Racing teams have responded quite well to the challenges of competing at the highest levels of NASCAR.

Since both teams at Stewart-Haas Racing  are positioned strongly in the top 12 securing, at least for the time being, a possible bid in the Chase for the Championship.   Might this lead to the idea that next year might be a very opportune time to add a third race team??  After all, THE SMOKER  just won a million dollars and that now bolsters the bank account very nicely!


Is it just me or has Mr. Tony Stewart toned down his criticisms, sharp tongue, and his never ending whining and finger pointing?  Is it the fact that he now is personally responsibile to all of his sponsors that may have caused Tony to “mask his strips”??   Have you noticed that he has started wearing a hat with his sponsor’s logo?  He NEVER did that when he was driving for Joe Gibbs Racing!  What do you think? 

Please take part in the poll below.  Also express your thoughts, via the comment tab at the bottom of this article, on Stewart-Haas Racing starting a third race team, or Tony’s new found personality!

Flying High??


We are approaching the one quarter point of the 2009 season and some teams are flying high, and some are still in the holding pattern waiting for their approach clearance!! 

It is no surprise that two of Hendrick Motorsports teams are first and second in the standings.  The teams of Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson have performed up to their early season’s expectations.  The #24 Dupont Chevy finally broke their winless streak of 47 races by winning at Texas!  Even without that victory, Jeff Gordon has been finishing in the top 5 ,week in and week out, in the early part of the 2009 season.  The Lowe’s # 48 Chevy is just now starting to hit on all 8 cylinders, hey look out they are coming on strong!! 

The two Joe Gibbs Racing cars, #11 FedEx Toyota driven by Denny Hamlin and the #18 M&M’s Toyota driven by TLVW, aka ol Kylie Busch are steadily plotting their course pointing towards the front, as well.

Two of “The Roushcateers” are holding up their end for the Ford’s.  The #99 Scott’s Ford piloted by “Cousin” Carl Edwards has been very consitent in scoring top 10 finishes so far this season.  The #17 DeWalt Ford Fusion of Matt Kenseth also has been a force.  After Kenseth’s red-hot start of back-to-back victories, he has settled down into a steady performer.

There are a couple of suprises at this juncture of the season.  The #14 Stewart-Haas Chevy  driven by Tony Stewart, aka “THE SMOKER” is sitting in 5th place in the satndings!  Even though it is THE SMOKER  driving this car, it is a new team in essence!  This reporter didn’t figure this team “to be in hunt” at  all this season!

Additionally, there is great surprise that the Richard Childress Racing #33 General Mills Chevy driven by Clint Bowyer, is anywhere near the top of the standings!!  This team is truly a brand new, startup team!! 

Still another surprise, as compared to where he finished last year, is the Penske Racing #2 Miller Lite Dodge of Ears Laid Back, aka Kurt Busch.

The Michael Waltrip Racing #00 Aaron’s Dream Machine piloted by David Reutimann has come from nowhere to  land firmly in 11th place.  That is quite a leap from last years position of thirty-something!!

Missing from the top twelve is the most popular driver of NASCAR, none other than Dale Earnhardt, Jr.  What is happening to the Hendrick Motorsports #88 AMP/Natonal Guard Chevy???  What seems to be going on with that team?  Does anybody have a clue??

For those teams “flying high”, they really must stay focused knowing that they have a target drawn on their backs by the teams stuck in that holding pattern I alluded to in the beginning of this article.  For those teams still in the holding pattern, it is time to exit the holding pattern and make that perfect landing beginning at Phoenix this weekend!!  They can not afford to stall out now! 

As always it is time to tie the picture together with the article.  If you haven’t figured it out, the F-15 Eagle “is flying high”!  The picture was taken at the March race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.  For those of you who have never been to LVMS, the track is located about a mile to the northwest of Nellis AFB.  So while you are at LVMS, you get a great air show from all the fighters that transit through the air base.   Also, the USAF Thunderbirds precision demonstration team winters there, too.  So you also get a glimpse of the boys doing their practice show in preparation for their annul tour!! 

We live in fame and die in flame!!!   GO USAF!!!!

2009 Daytona 500

2009 Daytona 500 123


This week’s story lines:

1.  Matt Kenseth wins the 2009 Daytona 500:

2.  Dale Sr. will be remembered on 2/18/09:(EGR PR)

3.  Gilliland to drive the TRG #71 car for the four races:(TRG PR) 

4.  David Starr to drive the Blackjack Racing #51 at Calif:

5.  Kyle Petty not happy about merger:(st.petetimes)

6.  Rusty Wallace, Inc. considering Cup move with RCR help:   (nascar.com)

7.  DirectTV Hot Pass free:(directtv.com)

8.  Is Dale, Jr. running out of time for championship?(espn)


Sunday February 15th marked the 51st running of The Great American Race, better know as the Daytona500.  With a testing ban at all NASCAR sanctioned tracks, the teams did little to no testing at all this winter.  So when the haulers pulled through the tunnel prior to the Bud Shootout, about ten days ago, it was the race teams first glance at “the world center of speed” since the race in July of 2008.

The races of Speedweeks 2009 were very exciting.  The Bud Shootout had a new format for getting into the race,which put a different twist on that race.  It has become a manufacturer’s race now.  Nonetheless, it was an exciting “shootout” Kevin Harvick taking home all the marbles!

The Duel 150’s were very exciting and really action packed races with Jeff Gordon winning the first race and (TLVW) Kyle Busch winning the second duel.  Both of those races were action packed and very tight racing!

On Friday, The Camping World Truck race lit the night sky at Daytona.  It was a very action packed 250 mile race.  There was many lead changes and of course the impatient drivers making risky moves!  But that is the hallmark of this series, which serves to increase the use of the “rollbacks” and tow trucks at the track! 

On Saturday the Nationwide Series was main attraction at Daytona.  It sounds repetitive, but the Nationwide boys also put on one whale of a race.  There was lots of side-by-side racing throughout the entire pack, not just the front runners!  The final results was that Tony Stewart(The Smoker), won the race in the #80 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy.  This new affiliation occurs because of  The Smoker’s new team, Stewart-Haas Racing, buys their cars and engines from Rick Hendrick.

On Sunday, under threatening skies, THE GREAT AMERICAN RACE takes center stage at Daytona.  With the threat of rain in the back of all the race teams minds, the green flag drops and the drivers strategy is that they need to race hard immediately.  The reason for that mind set is that the race may be called officially over once they complete the half way mark.  So the race pace and moves were furious and risky!! The racing was two wide, three wide, and sometimes momentarily four wide!!!  The drivers were racing every lap like it was the last one!   The drivers were really trying to get to the front by the halfway point, just in case the rains arrived. 

It reminded me of an old song by Steeler’s Wheel.  The lyrics go something like this “clowns to the left of me  jokers to the right, here I am stuck in the middle with you”!!!!!  The rains came and went intermittenly thoughoutthe race, but it finally cut loose and the race was called with Matt Kenseth in the lead and delcared the winner.



This reporter, along with his sidekick Jim,  arrived at Daytona for the four action packed days of racing starting with the Duel 150’s and culminating THE GREAT AMERICAN RACE, the Daytona 500.  There is something magical about Daytona that you must experience if you are a race fan!  There are only two venues that stand head and shoulders above the rest, Indianapolis and Daytona.  Having been to both venues several times, the atmosphere is charged with electricity and a great anticipation resonates throught the grandstands prior to the races there.  However, it is this reporter’s opinion, that Daytona has now far exceeded the gala at Indy( you can thank Tony George for singel-handedly mortally wounding open wheel racing)!!!  Tony George’s arrogance played right into the hands of NASCAR and allowed them to really grow their brand starting with the 1996 season, that was the first year of the IRL/CART split!


P.S.   There is candle light vigil at DEI headquarters tonight to honor Dale Earnhardt, Sr.  It was eight years ago the he lost his life on the last lap of the 2001 Daytona 500.  He was in third place behind the eventual winner Michael Waltrip , and in second was his son Dale Jr.  Both of those cars were out of his stable at Dale Earnhardt, Inc.  This repoter is reasonably sure that THE INTIMIDATOR is quite proud of the way his son has handled himself since that tragic day, February 18, 2001!!


2009 Season Predictions


It is 13 days til the green flag drops for start of “The Great American Race”, the Daytona 500.  The pundits are gathering to express their predictions for the 2009 season!  As the season unfolds, there are numerous thoughts on this reporter’s mind that must be resolved.


First of all, Tony Stewart (The Smoker)(two time champion) and Ryan Newman (2008 Daytona 500 winner) have left their prospective teams and joined forces in the newly formed Stewart-Haas Racing with Hendrick motors.  Will either one, or both of these drivers have any impact on the 2009 season??

Secondly, will any of the Hendrick drivers be a driving force in the 2009 season?  Can Jimmie Johnson and the #48 Lowe’s team make it four championships in a row?  That feat has NEVER been accompolished in the 60 year history of NASCAR!  How ’bout Jeff Gordon’s “drive for 5”?  Can he pull it off or is his prowess over?  Can Dale Jr have a break through year and finally shut up all those “nay sayers” !!!  Can Jr close the deal?????  Now that Mark Martin is in the #5 car, can he finish his career at the top of the podium??

Next to be discussed is the Joe Gibbs boys.  Kyle Busch (The Las Vegas Weasel) sputtered when the going got tough!  Can he actually perform at the end of the season like he did up until the Chase started???  Can Denny Hamlin crank up the intesity and be more consistant throughout the entire season?  And new kid on the block, Joey Logano (Sliced Bread) how will he fit in at JGR?  Did they rush him into Cup too fast?  Can this 18 year old phenom be really that good?  Can Logano stand the pressure involved in this level of  performance?

Richard Childress Racing started a fourth team for the 2009 season.  But, because of sponsorship concerns Mears was put into the #06 Jack Daniels Chevy.  General Mills was concerned that Mears wouldn’t fit into their profile, since last season he was driving the Kelloggs #5 HMS Chevy.  So Mears tgets into the #07 with a top 35 points from 2008.  That moved Clint Bowyer into the newly formed #33 General Mills Chevy with NO points to start the 2009 season.  Bowyer must “race into the big show”!!!  Can Jeff Burton finish in the top ten consistantly?  Kevin Harvick needs to step up his game, at least one more notch, in order to put pressure on the other frontrunners in 2009.

Lastly, can the Roush/Fenway drivers keep the pressure up on thall the rest of the contenders?  Carl Edwards is the franchise driver of the Roush/Fenway stable.  It would appear that he has the hunger and the ability to “dethrone” the 3 time Champ, Jimmie Johnson!  Greg Bifle really came alive in the early part of the Chase last season, is the fire still burning????  Matt Kenseth is probably the most consistant steady driver in that stable, but can he step it up???  David Ragan is the newest and youngest of the Roush/Fenway drivers and had some sparks of brilliance in 2008. 


So my question to all of you is this.  Having read this article and using all your worldly racing knowledge, consulting your psychic, reading your tea leaves, possibly picking straws, when the checkered flags falls at Homestead, who will reign as the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion?????




GO #88

Bud Shootout Changes


I have been saying how “change is coming, change is coming”!!  Well, here is one more change to digest this season.  The Bud Shootout format has completely changed for 2009.  In the past, the Bud Shootout was defined as the winners of the previous seasons races and the past winners of the Bud Shootout.  Well NASCAR, in their infinite wisdom, has decided that the new format is going to pit the top six in OWNER’S POINTS from each manufacturer plus a wild card car from each manufacturer.  That is a total of 28 cars racing for the money.

Another change to the Bud Shootout is to increase the race length from 70 laps to 75 laps.  That is, the first segment will consist of a 25 lap race with a 10 minute break.  In that break crews can do all the things that can be accompolished in a regular pit stop.  However, no springs, shocks, nor rear end changes  are allowed.  Then a restart and a 50 lap race to the checkered flag!!  Starting positions for the Bud Shootout will be determined by a blind draw as usual.


The drivers in the 2009 Bud Shootout are:


#48 Jimmie Johnson

#29 Kevin Harvick

#07 Casey Mears

#31 Jeff Burton

#24 Jeff Gordon

#88 Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

#14 Tony (The Smoker) Stewart  (Chevy Wild Card)



#9 Kasey Kahne

#12 David Stremme

#2 Kurt Busch

#19 Elliott Sadler

#7 Robby Gordon (Dodge for Shootout)

#44 A.J. Allmendinger (Dodge Wild Card)



#99 Carl Edwards

#16 Greg Bifle

#17 Matt Kenseth

#6 David Ragan

#22 Jamie McMurray

#98 Paul Menard ( Ford Wild Card)



#11 Denny Hamlin

#20 Joey Logano (formally The Smoker’s ride)

#18 Kyle Busch (TLVW) (the las vegas weasel)

#00 David Reutimann (#44 points)

#83 Brian Vickers

#55 Michael Waltrip ( Toyota Wild Card)


Past Winners:

2008 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. …………$215,000.00

2007 Tony Stewart………………….$215,000.00

2006 Denny Hamlin…………………$213,380.00

2005 Jimmie Johnson……………..$219,945.00

2004 Dale Jarrett…………………….$213,000.00

2003 Dale Earnhardt, Jr……………$205,000.00

2002 Tony Stewart…………………..$200,955.00

2001 Tony Stewart…………………..$202,722.00

2000 Dale Jarrett…………………….$115,000.00


Interesting Facts:

Five times has the winner of the Bud Shootout gone on to win the Daytona 500, Dale Jarrett (1996 & 2000), Jeff Gordon (1997), Bill Elliott (1987), and Bobby Allison (1982).  Dale Earnhardt, Jr. finished second in the 2004 Bud Shootout, won the Daytona 500 the following week (2004).

There were seven drivers who won the Daytona 500 that did not compete in the Bud Shootout the week before.  Those  drivers are Michael Waltrip (2001,2003), Ward Burton (2002),Dale Earnhardt, Sr. (1998), Sterling Marlin (19940, Dale Jarrett (1993), Derrrike Cope (1990) and Richard Petty (1979).  Drivers who did not compete in the Bud Shootout the week before the Daytona 500 have won three of the last four Daytona 500’s!


It is this reporter’s opinion that the change in format rewards only the manufacturer, not the driver for his hard work the previous season!  It is a change that appears to be ill conceived!!  The Bud Shootout, like The All Star Race, was a race for the drivers and the fans.  On first look, the new format for the Bud Shootout appears to be first and foremost a “manufacturer’s race”.  NASCAR needs to come to their senses and change this format back to its origins for the 2010 season!! 

 Your comments on this format change is invited!!!!



A change is coming!



A change is coming, a change is coming!!  We have been hearing this on the political campaign trail for oh so long!  Well, this is my 100th post since the birth of this site and change is also coming here as well!!!  My tech people( aka Jason) have added a few new features/widgets to the sidebar that I/we feel will add value to this publication.


You will notice that I have added a NASCAR Race Countdown feature.  This will countdown to the next week’s race.  Also it wll list a few interesting items associated with that race (closely look at the background, it’s AMP!!).  The second new addition is the NASCAR Standings widget, which will keep us all up to date of the NASCAR standings.  Lastly, I have added a quotes widget.  It will post various quotes that I feel might be appropriate each week!  I will also, from time to time, have a poll on my web site so that you can cast your vote on certain items that are of interest.  This should make for, maybe, some intersting interaction and discussions!!


So as you can see this off season I have had my best people (Jason) working  diligently to try to make this site both informative and very user friendly!!!  That is ultimately my goal.


So as you can see, 2009  has brought/is bringing many changes to us, not only in Washington D.C., and in NASCAR, but to my web site as well!  I will not enumerate the changes in D.C., since we have been saturated with the campaign for about the last two years nightly.    


I tried to publish all the known changes in the Cup Series on my last post.  I am now going to try to update you on the changes to the Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck Series !

Nationwide Series:

1.   Larry Foyt to drive the #56 MacHill Motorsports entry

2.   Verizon to sponsor the #12 Penske Dodge driver by Justin Allgaier(Penske PR)

3.   Michael Annett full season in the Germain Racing #12 Toyota  (AnnettPR)

3.   Paul Menard drives 16 races in the #98 Yates Ford (Yates PR)

4.   Fastenal sponsors the #2 RCR Chevy driven by Bowyer and Truex

5.   Scott Speed runs some races for Michael Waltrip Racing (nascar.com)

6.   Ruetimann runs four races for Braun racing( Bruan Racing)

7.   Stewart (The Smoker) attempts Daytona in HMS #80 Chevy (HMS PR)

8.   Kerry Earnhardt to run #8 EGR(DEI) in Daytona

9.   Joe Nemechek (Front Row Joe) in NEMCO #78 Chevy

10.  Michael Mc Dowell drives the JTG/Daughtery entry(scenedaily)

11.  Kyle Busch(TLVW)  18 races for JGR (espn.com)



Truck Series:

1.   Ricky Carmichael drives KHI #4 Monster Energy Chevy (KHI PR)

2.   Max Papis six races for Germain Racing

3.   Kyle Busch(TLVW) in #51 Ballew Racing Toyota (scenedaily)

4.   Mike Wallace drives #71 TRG truck

5.   Johnny Benson moves to #1 Red Horse Racing


As is my tradition, I will tie in the picture to my post.  The picture is the 1959 Chevy that Junior Johnson won the 1960 Daytona 500.  That is when, as the story goes, Junior discovered a thing later called “the draft“!!!  His Chevy was so much slower than all the other cars, running by itself.   But when he was out on the track with other cars he could “suck” up  behind them, then pull out and sling-shot past them effortlessly!!!  The next year “change” came to Daytona when everyone  figured out how to “draft”!!!!


As always, I looked it up so that you wouldn’t have!


The Chase Begins




1.  JIMMIE JOHNSON  WINS AT RICHMOND: ( jayski Richmond results)





6.  JAY FREYE STILL IN LIMBO: ( espn.tv )




The first 26 races have been ran and the contenders for the Chase are set in stone!!!  The scores have been adjusted for the winning bonus points and the REAL race is about to begin!!  From the outside looking in, one might view this championship as a three horse race between TLVW, aka Kylie Busch, Jimmie Johnson, and Cousin Carl, aka Carl Edwards.  But don’t be fooled, my friends, there are TWELVE capable teams that can take this championship home!! 


There was much hype and anticipation before the season started about the Henrick Motorsports Dale Jr. #88 AMP/NATIONAL GUARD/MOUNTAIN DEW team!  They quickly came out of the box and won the first two races at Speedweeks in Daytona.  They were very consistant in their finishes through the first 20 races.  Although they only won one race, they were a top 5 team and every week.  However since that win at Michigan, the #88 team has experienced some bad finishes resulting from some bad decisions.  Does the #88 team have what it takes to wrestle the top spot away and take the trophy home after Homestead????


The Joe Gibbs Home Depot #20 is lurking back in eighth place and has had a VERY sub-par year!!  They have yet to post a victory this season!  That team was a dominating team in the very early part of the season leading lots of laps, but couldn’t close the deal and bring a win home.  Has the magic vanished with Zippy and THE SMOKER, aka Tony Stewart?????  Can they gather it up and “win one for the Gipper”?????


What about the #24 Dupont Chevy????  They too have fallen on hard times!!!  They have not been to the winners circle in 2008.  Does La Tarte and Gordon have anything for the three horse team at the top?? 


Well these and many more questions are about to be answered in the next ten races, my friends!!  This is where the contenders separate themselves from the pretenders!!  This is where you see the talent and desire come together to lead them to their goal…………The Sprint Cup Trophy!!!!  


As the picture above shows, the sun is starting to set in the West.  It is time to dig down deep and see if you got anything for the leaders!  The  twelve race teams in the Chase have got to go to the front NOW, if they can!!!  After twenty- six weeks of the week in and week out grind of BIG TIME RACIN’, this is where we see which team has what it takes to get it done!!  Will the Joe Gibbs #18 Toyota prevail?  Can the #48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy continue to add to their momentum?  Can the #99 Office Depot Ford continue in their winning ways?  Or will a spoiler like the #88 AMP/National Guard/ Mountain Dew Chevy driven by JR be the Sprint Cup Champion??  Could a really long shot get hot and steal the championship away from the favorites??? 

 These questions and many more are about to be answered in the next ten weeks!!

So pull those belts tight, make sure that the steering wheel is on straight, getcha four fresh Goodyears, a full tank of that Sunoco fuel, step on the loud pedal, let the big dawg eat, AND LET’S GO RACIN’ BOYS!!!!